AP Voices: Administrative professionals organizing for change
January 29, 2014
UPTE employees win BIG at bargaining table!
On December 20, UPTE-represented health care professionals, researchers, and technical staff overwhelmingly approved new labor contracts for 13,000 UC employees. Highlights of the contracts include:

  • Guaranteed pay raises for the next four years
  • All current and future employees remain on the “old” (1976) pension eligibility formula
  • Getting rid of the “Rule of 50,” that would have forced half of current employees onto an inferior tier for retiree health benefits

“What UPTE achieved is incredible,” said Max Ferman, a Programmer at UCSF. “I wasn’t sure they could keep everyone on the single tier for pensions, but this victory shows that when employees work together, we can accomplish great things.”

This historic agreement follows months of letter-writing, demonstrations, testimony and negotiations with Office of the President. Legislators pressured UC to “do the right thing” and new UC President Janet Napolitano appears to have played a constructive role.

“I want to be part of this,” said Barbara Gaerlan, a Program Rep at UCLA’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies. “When administrative professional staff vote for UPTE to represent us, we can start to bargain back for things we’ve lost.”

“I’m excited to be part of UPTE, even though we haven’t yet voted so we can bargain a contract,” noted Elizabeth Wilks, an Analyst at UC Santa Barbara. “This contract shows that being represented by a union makes an incredible difference in our working lives. Period.”

Even without a union contract, UPTE is the union that represents the interests of UC administrative professional staff.  “I’ve shown my support for UPTE by signing an authorization card,” said Susan Orlofsky, Senior Editor at San Diego. “And I’m proud to be a dues-paying member of the union, too. I’ll be talking with my colleagues here and around the state urging them to do the same.”

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